Louisville Hit Hard by ‘Deadliest Drug Crisis in American History’

Last Updated: Monday, August 13, 2018

There was a time when Louisville paramedics would go days without seeing a single drug overdose. But with the surge in the use of heroin and other opioids in the US during the past 10-plus years, some medics in the city are now seeing up to 25 overdoses in a single day, CBS Reports.

“It couldn’t get much worse,” a Louisville paramedic told  CBS This MorningAcross just four days in February, the city saw 151 overdoses. In the nation overall, the number of deaths from heroin tripled from 2010 to 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And in a 15 year span – from 2000 to 2015— more than half a million people died from drug overdose.

In response to the national epidemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration launched its 360 strategy in November 2015. In addition to coordinated law enforcement actions, prescriber education and Diversion Control, the 360 program aims to fight heroin and opioid use through community outreach.

“I don’t think we’re ever going to arrest, enforce or prosecute our way out of most social ills,” DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg told the morning program.

But transformation won’t come overnight.

Louisville, one of DEA 360’s pilot cities, has seen an increase in overdoses since the program began.

 “Changing behavior is tough. But we have to keep at it. We have to talk to middle and high school kids and we just have to be relentless about it,” Rosenberg said.

Earlier this week, the President signed an executive order to create a national opioid commission to focus on fighting the epidemic. He tapped New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to lead the commission which, in 90 days, will submit a report with recommendations on how the government can address drug addiction and the opioid crisis.

Related: Learn more about the opioid abuse problem in Louisville.

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